Female Infertility and Conception
When you’ve been trying for a few months or longer to get pregnant nothing can be more devastating when you don’t succeed. There are many different causes and factors that affect your fertility.
The first step in treating infertility is finding out what’s causing your inability to conceive.
Endometriosis and Your Fertility
One of the main causes of female infertility is endometriosis. Up to 50 percent of infertile women are diagnosed with endometriosis.
This is a condition that occurs when the endometrial tissue which is found in the lining of the uterus starts to grow on the outside, typically in the pelvic and abdominal cavity.
Symptoms of endometriosis include heavy and painful menstrual periods, pain in the pelvic region, and pain during intercourse.
Endometriosis can be treated with surgery to remove any abnormal tissue that is growing as well as with medication.
PID and Infertility
PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) is a condition that affects the reproductive organs. It can occur after a woman has had an STD (sexually transmitted disease) such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
PID symptoms include abdominal tenderness and pain, a high fever, and painful menstrual periods. Up to about 20 percent of infertility cases can be linked directly to PID.
The typical treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease is antibiotics. Surgery can be used if there is a blockage to the fallopian that is a result of the STD infection.
Fibroid Tumors can Harm Your Fertility
Fibroid tumors can grow in the cervix or uterus when your estrogen levels are too high. This can lead to a tubal blockage that prevents the fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus.
Uterine fibroids affect mostly women who are in their 30s and 40s. The effect of these tumors on your ability to conceive will depend on where they are located and how large they are.
Symptoms of fibroid tumors include heavy and painful periods and pain in the pelvic region.
If your doctor suspects that you have a fibroid tumor, you’ll undergo a pelvic ultrasound, a laparoscopy, hysterosalpingography, or a hysteroscopy for a correct diagnosis.
Fibroids are treated either through the use of drugs to reduce the size, such as GnRH agonists. Surgical treatment is also used to remove the tumors.
Too Much Prolactin as an Infertility Cause
If your body is producing too much of the prolactin hormone you’ll be diagnosed with hyperprolactinemia. This hormone is responsible for the production of breast milk.
Too much of the prolactin hormone will suppress your ovulation cycle. Symptoms of hyperprolactinemia include anovulation (when you don’t ovulate) and galactorrhea (the production of breast milk even when you’re not pregnant).
Some of the causes of Hyperprolactinemia include:
- Thyroid disorders.
- Prolactinomas (tumors located on the pituitary gland).
- Medications such as tranquillizers and drugs to treat high blood pressure.
- Oral contraceptives.
- Surgical scars located on the chest wall.
Hyperprolactinemia is diagnosed through a blood test that detects the high levels of prolactin. Both surgical and drug treatment is advised. Surgery is performed to remove any tumors that might be present.
Medication is used to lower prolactin levels. In many cases, the drug clomiphene may be used to induce your body to ovulation so that you can try to get pregnant.
Luteal Phase Needed for Fertility
The luteal phase is the period of time between when you ovulate and the start of your next menstrual period.
If you have a luteal phase defect, your body won’t have enough time between ovulation and menstruation for the uterine lining to sufficiently build up for implantation of the fertilized egg.
The typical cause of luteal phase defects is not enough of the progesterone hormone in your body. Progesterone is needed to build up the lining in your uterus.
Without adequate levels of progesterone, your fertility is greatly reduced. Luteal phase defects are typically treated with medication.
You’ll be given progesterone to increase the level of this hormone as well as drugs to trigger ovulation.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Can Cause Infertility
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where your ovaries secrete high levels of male hormones (androgens).
These hormones can interfere with ovulation. Most women with PCOS will have enlarged ovaries that have small cysts growing on them.
Symptoms of PCOS include weight gain, excessive hair growth, acne, and oily skin. Treatment of PCOS will depend on how severe your condition is.
If your case is severe enough, you may need to undergo surgery to thin out thicker areas of the ovary.
Milder cases of PCOS will be treated through medication to trigger ovulation as well as by eating a diet that is low in fat and carbohydrates.
All the above are some of the most common causes of female infertility. Your doctor will order tests based on your own individual circumstances.
When it comes to infertility it’s important that you find the answers you need as soon as possible so that you can make decisions about what infertility treatments are right for you.